Why Do Dogs Shed Their Hair?

By July 19 | See Comments

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Although shedding is normal for almost all dog types, excessive hair loss could be a sign of some other underlying condition. In this piece, we look at why dogs shed their fur, what constitutes normal shedding, and the signs of a bigger problem.

Reasons for shedding

The fur of your dog helps him to control the body temperature and also protects his skin against the environmental elements and the sun. When his hair stops to grow, he will lose it naturally by shedding. The frequency and amount depends on a number of factors, like the health condition of the dog, the breed, the environment and the season.

How much is normal?

A lot of the double coated breeds tend to shed the undercoat during the fall and spring. This applies more or less to the normal breeds as well. Some of the breeds that shed their hair heavily include the Labrador Retriever, Border Collie, German Shepherd and the Beagle. In certain cases the shedding might seem excessive to you, but chances are that it’s something completely normal for the dog. However, excessive shedding could also be due to an underlying health condition.

Abnormal causes

If there is a big change in the environment, dogs can start shedding more hair than they usually do. If your dog is shedding more hair due to anxiety or stress, then he might benefit from your care and comfort. Consult with the vet to see if supplements or medication would help with the situation.Some skin disorders lead to bald patches and hair loss. For instance, a parasitic infestation (lice, flea or mites) can lead to excessive hair loss. Dermatitis, ringworm and some fungal infections, cancers and immune diseases can also cause hair loss. If you notice some kind of skin irritation, scab, bump or a rash in addition to all the hair loss, take him to the vet immediately.Allergies and hormonal changes are another major cause of excessive shedding. Certain medications, foods, grooming supplies and household cleaners can trigger an allergic reaction in your dog.

How can you manage it?

While it is not possible to prevent a healthy dog from shedding his fur at the normal rate, you can ask the veterinarian or groomer for product recommendations that are suited to the fur-type of your dog. With the right product, you can reduce the amount of loose hair in and around your home. If there is an increase in the frequency at which your dog sheds hair, then there is a possibility that he suffers from some underlying condition. If you are worried that your dog is experiencing excessive hair loss due to stress, a pest infestation, or a hormonal imbalance (like Cushing’s disease), work with the vet to pinpoint the underlying cause and treat it appropriately.

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